A place in the Premier League is up for grabs as Aston Villa do battle with Derby County in the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium.
The two teams clash on what promises to be an entertaining afternoon on Bank Holiday Monday in the capital. Heading into the final itself, Dean Smith’s Villa are the red-hot favourites. Having squeezed past local rivals West Bromwich Albion on penalties, the Villans now head into their second consecutive playoff final and are at odds of 8/13 with William Hill to earn promotion to the top-flight. Elsewhere, the Rams staged a brilliant comeback to win the second-leg of the playoff semi-final 4-2 against Leeds United at Elland Road and can be backed at 5/4.
Whilst supporters will be willing their respective teams a return back to the Premier League, those in attendance at Wembley could be treated to a fantastic clash. The two teams arrive in the capital having found form at just the right time. Villa have won 11 out of their last 14 games in all competitions which includes embarking on a stunning run of ten league victories in a row under Dean Smith. Derby meanwhile have only lost two out of their last 14 games in all competitions, form which saw them confirm their place in the playoffs. Villa are available at 5/4 with Betfred to win the game in 90 minutes, whilst the Rams can be backed at 13/5. The teams to draw after 90 minutes is at 23/10.
One aspect that could also potentially be expected are goals. Aston Villa can boast one of this season leading goalscorers in the Championship; Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham. The 21-year-old hit 25 league strikes this season and is at 3/1 with Betfair to open the scoring at Wembley. Meanwhile, despite Derby forward Jack Marriott not scoring even half that, he was inspirational against Leeds, with his brace securing the win in Yorkshire. The former Peterborough United man is at 11/2 to score the opener.
Despite Marriott’s inclusion, Scott Malone is definitely ruled out for the Rams after getting sent off in the second-leg win against Leeds so veteran defender Ashley Cole is likely to come into the team. Long-term absentees Curtis Davies and Craig Forsyth have both returned to training but are highly unlikely to make the matchday squad. On-loan Leicester City midfielder Andy King has also rejoined the squad but again is not going to play a part. Meanwhile, forward Martyn Waghorn could return to action after missing out against Leeds.
Villa have no new injury or suspension worries ahead of the game so could potentially name an unchanged XI. Defender Axel Tuanzebe was a slight doubt after suffering an ankle injury in the semi-final clash with West Brom but has been passed fit. Orjan Nyland remains restricted to the sidelines, whilst defender James Chester is also a doubt.